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In photos: 70 years of India’s growing clout at the United Nations

Modi-United Nations
UN Photo/Saw Lwin
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then India’s foreign minister, addressing the Assembly on Oct. 04, 1977.
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Early on Sept. 24, Narendra Modi landed in New York—his second visit since becoming India’s prime minister—to attend a series of meetings on the sidelines of the United Nations’ 70th anniversary.

Modi and his team is a far cry from the Indian delegation that attended the San Francisco Conference in 1945, when the UN Charter was signed.

Indeed, in the seven decades since the UN’s formation, India’s role in the international body has dramatically transformed from a colonial entity into a global economic power vying for a seat at its highest table.

Quartz presents a photographic chronicle of India’s evolution within the UN.

UN Photo/Rosenberg
A. Ramaswami Mudaliar, supply member of the Governor General’s executive council and leader of the delegation from India, signing the UN Charter at a ceremony held at the Veterans’ War Memorial Building in San Francisco on June 26, 1945.
UN Photo/Marcel Bolomey
A general view of the Economic and Social Council shortly after the election of Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar as chairman. The first session of the United Nations General Assembly opened on Jan. 10, 1946 at Central Hall in London.
UN Photo/KB
Partial view of the 228th meeting of the Security Council at Lake Success, New York, as Sir Mohammed Zafrullah Khan, Pakistani minister of foreign affairs, presents his government’s case in the dispute with India concerning the situation in Jammu and Kashmir on Jan, 16, 1948.
UN Photo
N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar (right), minister of India without portfolio, and Sir Mohamed Zafrullah Khan, minister for foreign affairs of Pakistan, read the news of the tragic death of Mahatma Gandhi on Jan. 30, 1948 at Lake Success in New York.
UN Photo/MB
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, chairman of the delegation of India, addressing the General Assembly on the second day of its resumed general debate on Nov. 11, 1952 in New York.
UN Photo/Marvin Bolotsky
From left: Gamal Abdel Nasser, president of the United Arab Republic; Dr. Sukarno, president of the Republic of Indonesia; Jawaharlal Nehru, prime minister of India; Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, president of the Republic of Ghana; and Mr. Saeb Salaam, president of the Council of Ministers of Lebanon on Oct. 04, 1960 in New York
UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata
A view of the General Assembly Hall in November 1961, as representatives gave the Indian prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, a standing ovation as he entered the hall to take his place on the podium.
UN Photo/BZ
Indian troops return home from Congo after being part of the UN forces on Oct. 10, 1963.
UN Photo/YN
The Security Council hearing a statement by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, foreign minister of Pakistan, on the India-Pakistan issue on Oct. 25, 1965 in New York.
UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata
Prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi, visits the UN headquarters in New York on Oct. 14, 1968. She addressed the General Assembly and held discussions with secretary-general U. Thant.
UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata
Secretary-general Kurt Waldheim (right) met with the minister for foreign affairs of India, P.V. Narasimha Rao, at the UN headquarters in New York on Mar. 10, 1980.
UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata
Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi addressing the General Assembly in New York on Sept. 28, 1983.
UN Photo/John Isaac
India’s prime minister Rajiv Gandhi addresses the General Assembly in New York on Oct. 19, 1987.
UN Photo/Milton Grant
India’s prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao addresses members of the UN Security Council on Jan. 31, 1992 in New York.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Inder Kumar Gujral, prime minister and minister for foreign affairs of India, addressing the 52nd session of the General Assembly in New York on Sept. 24, 1997.
UN Photo/Michelle Poiré
India’s prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee addresses the 57th session of the General Assembly in New York on Sept. 13, 2002.
UN Photo/Joshua Kristal
India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh addresses the high-level plenary meeting of the 60th session of the UN General Assembly (2005 World Summit) on Sept. 15, 2005 in New York. The World Summit was the largest gathering of world leaders in history.
UN Photo/Marco Castro
Sonia Gandhi addresses the informal General Assembly plenary meeting on the first observance of the International Day of Non-Violence, at UN headquarters in New York on Oct. 02, 2007.
UN Photo/Cia Pak
Narendra Modi, prime minister of India, addresses the general debate of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly.Sept. 27, 2014.
UN Photo/Cia Pak
Sushma Swaraj, minister for external affairs of India, speaks at the special event on the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence, organised by the Permanent Mission of India on Oct. 02, 2014, in New York.
UN Photo/Prashanth Vishwanathan
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (right) shakes hands with Sachin Tendulkar, cricketer and UNICEF goodwill ambassador, at the launch of UN@70, a year of activities which will celebrate the organisation’s 70th anniversary on Jan. 12, 2015 in New Delhi.

📬 A periodic dispatch from the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in NYC.

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